City Guide to Glendalough

Residing in Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains National Park, the beguiling river valley village of Glendalough is situated on the site of a 6th century monastic settlement. A popular heritage site on the Wicklow Way, Glendalough is particularly renowned for its combination of medieval architecture and outstanding natural beauty.

Glendalough is considered the perfect spot for a hiking holiday and is a particularly popular base for exploring the nearby Wicklow Mountains. But it’s not all about exploring on foot: you can head out horse riding, pedal along one of the Wicklow Way’s cycling trails, seek out the village’s wildlife or simply marvel at its 100 foot round tower.

History in Glendalough

Glendalough has a somewhat chequered but remarkable history. The monastic city founded here during the medieval period was mostly destroyed at the end of the 12th century, during an English siege. After this, the site became a pilgrimage spot and by the end of the 16th century it was re-established as the historic village that stands here today. The village’s medieval past is still prevalent today. The ruins located here are considered some of the best in Ireland.

Ancient Architecture in Glendalough

The most significant monument in the village is known as the ‘Gateway to Glendalough’, once the entrance to the monastic city that stood here. Its most striking monument, however, is the 100 foot tall round tower that was created from a mixture of slate and granite. The tower is an impressive feat of engineering given its age, and you certainly won’t miss it.

Glendalough’s Abandoned Mining Village

Take a stroll along the sun-kissed shores of Glendalough’s Upper Lake and you will soon find yourself in an abandoned mining village, dating from the turn of the 19th century. Abandoned long ago, the village makes for a haunting visit, especially against the backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains and the immense granite scree field left here by the miners.

Rock Climbing in Glendalough

While you may be here for a hiking holiday, County Wicklow has a range other outdoor activities on offer, and rock climbing is particularly popular in Glendalough due to the immense granite cliffs situated to the northwest of the valley. There are routes suitable for everyone, as well as options for bouldering (low level climbing without a safety harness); so why not have a go?

Dining in Glendalough

As you would expect from a small village, the dining opportunities here offer more hearty fare than posh nosh, but they are delicious nevertheless. Grab a light bite or some pub grub and revitalise yourself after a day in the mountains. If you’re dead set on a real restaurant, there are some a short drive away. You could even treat yourself to a snifter of Glendalough whiskey, straight from the local distillery.

Enjoy Glendalough

With all this on offer and more, don’t put it off – book your holiday break in the lush green village of Glendalough today.

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